Australian Shepherds are among the most popular dogs in the US. But their popularity doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the perfect companion for everyone. Aussies can be guarded with strangers.
Even with the proper socialization, typically Australian Shepherds are attached to just one or two family members. Aussies should be socialized when they’re puppies to behave well when meeting new people and other pets.
If you’ve been thinking about getting an Aussie, your first step should be to understand this breed’s traits to determine if it will be a good fit. Let’s look at some things to consider as an Aussie owner.
Do Aussies Have a Favorite Person?
Australian Shepherds are known to favor one person in the family over others. Therefore, if you’re looking for a family dog, an Aussie may not be the best option. If you are solo, you can rest assured that you’ll be your dog’s entire life.
However, an Aussie can bond with more than one person. There are several things you can do to help your dog more equally with everyone. These include:
- Equal bonding time: Ensure everyone in the family participates in the dog’s activities like feeding, walks, playtime, and grooming.
- K-9 trainer: As with any dog, it helps to hire a trainer. The trainer is more equipped to teach an Aussie how to behave in a family or community.
- Similar experience: An Aussie can get attached to one person in the family. To prevent this, try to ensure the dog has a similar experience with different family members.
The Downside of Your Aussie as a One-Person Dog
While it may seem harmless for your Aussie to be attached to one person in the family, it’s not a good idea. What seems like a healthy bond can easily cross over to separation anxiety or aggression towards other family members. This not only puts other people in harm’s way but also puts you and your dog in a dependent relationship.
Your dog will have to endure separation anxiety every time you’re not around, and you’ll have to deal with a needy or overly aggressive dog every time you have to step out, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
While it’s incredible to have a canine best friend, it’s nerve-wracking to feel like your dog is suffering every time you’re not there. This is why it’s crucial to ensure your dog socializes equally with everyone in the family. This way, even when you’re not around, your dog will be okay.
Are Aussies Clingy?
Australian Shepherds are very clingy. They like to be included in pretty much everything you do. Whether you’re going outside for a few minutes or you leave the room for a few seconds, your Aussie will always be right behind you. If it were up to them, you’d never leave their sight.
It’s good to comfort your Aussie when together to reassure and build confidence. If your dog is denied the connection they seek, they may develop bad habits, like loud barking or aggression, which can be problematic. Early training, mental exercises, bonding time, and exercise should keep your dog calm and happy.
If you’re looking for a canine best friend that loves to cuddle, an Australian Shepherd will not disappoint. These dogs are friendly and love to cuddle all the time. They cuddle among themselves, with kids, and adults as well.
Do Aussies Do Well Alone?
No, Aussies don’t do well alone for extended periods of time. Aussies are born to support their owners. They are bred to help farmers in herding. And even though you’re not in the countryside, your dog still expects you to be the alpha and always be by his or her side. Staying alone is, therefore, quite unnatural for them.
For this reason, these dogs are not happy when they are away from you for many hours. If you decide to get an Aussie, you need to prioritize quality time with them. Otherwise, the dog will experience separation anxiety.
So, what happens when you have to leave? You can’t possibly take your dog everywhere. Luckily, there are ways around this. Consider the following tips:
Factor in the Dog’s Age
If your dog is still a puppy, up to 10 weeks old, it’s best not to leave them alone for long periods. An Aussie puppy has little control over his body and may not even be potty trained. If you have to be away, find a dog walker or pet sitter who can help out. It’s best to find someone who is expected to be in the dog’s life for the long haul for socialization purposes.
When the dog gets to around two months old, they can hold their bladder for up to two hours. At four months, the dog can hold it for about four hours. After four to six months, the dog should be close to fully potty trained.
Crate Train Aussies
Crates offer a great way to help your Aussie feel comfortable when you’re not available or at home. There are some great crates available, for either indoor and outdoor use. Ensure that the crate is large enough for your Aussie to move around freely and stand up inside.
For more information on the benefits of crate training, here’s a related post on Crate Training an Aussie.
Hire a Pet Sitter
If you’re going to be away for a workday or a longer time, it’s best to hire a pet sitter. Professional pet sitters understand each pet’s needs and offer excellent care packages. They’ll feed, brush, walk, play with, and give your dogs treats as needed.
Alternatively, you can get help from friends and relatives who don’t mind taking care of your dog when you’re away.
Tag Your Buddy Along
If you’re going somewhere where your dog can tag along, and you don’t want to inconvenience anyone with your pet, by all means, take the dog with you. You’ll increase your bonding time, and you’ll both be happy.
Is an Australian Shepherd the Right Dog for You?
Ultimately, the decision to get an Aussie is up to you. Consider the dog’s personality and needs and decide whether this dog is the companion you’re looking for. One thing you can be assured of is that this dog is loyal, intelligent, and one of the friendliest dogs.